Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

US Bank focuses on increasing Black home ownerships


US Bank focuses on increasing Black home ownerships
Tracy Egerson noticed a pattern when she and some of her co-workers from US Bank recently represented the bank's mortgage business at an event in Milwaukee aimed at increasing Black homeownership.

“I was at the table with three colleagues and noticed that as people approached us, it was always me that they asked questions,” Egerson said. “I think there’s a safe and familiar feeling in seeing someone that looks like them, and that’s why they approached me.”

That sense of safety and familiarity is one of the reasons U.S. Bank is focusing on increasing Black representation in mortgage loan officers as part of its Access Home initiative, which aims to increase Black homeownership through key pillars such as partnering with non-profit organizations and providing financial education and community outreach programs.

Egerson is one of 12 employees nationwide who are part of the bank's first-ever training and development program, which is designed to fulfil Access Home's commitment to creating future mortgage leaders who represent all of the communities the bank serves, beginning with Black consumers. It was not necessary to have prior mortgage experience to participate.
“It’s a yearlong program for the cohort,” said Egerson, who joined U.S. Bank in September to take part in the program. “I have a mentor who I shadow and we’re doing a lot of intensive training. We’re on month five now and it’s going well.”

The program's emphasis on increasing homeownership among people of color appealed to Egerson, who has worked in banking since 1990.

“There’s definitely a big gap in the percentage of Black versus white homeownership rates and I wanted to be part of fixing that gap,” she said.

Giving people access to the information and resources they need when navigating the homebuying process, according to Egerson, is one of the keys to addressing the issue.

“A lot of people think it’s more difficult to purchase a home than it really is,” Egerson said. “So many people believe you have to have 20 percent down to buy a home, and that’s not the case. Folks also feel that if they have the slightest blemish on their credit score, they won’t qualify for a loan, or they won’t qualify if they’ve ever filed bankruptcy, and those aren’t true, either.”

Egerson and others are working with community organizations as part of the training program to help address those misconceptions and inform potential homebuyers about tools and programs that can help them become homeowners.

“We are learning how to guide folks on how to be prepared for a mortgage and show them that we are valued partners they can count on to dispel the myths around credit score and down payment assistance,” she said.

Egerson and her peers in the mortgage loan officer development program find it very meaningful that they can help create sustainable homeownership, which can be critical in building wealth and legacies for the communities they represent.

“It’s so great to see people’s faces when they start to realize that they can buy a home with as little as 3 percent down, and that they may be able to receive down payment assistance,” she said. “It starts to sink in that homeownership may be in their reach.”